5 November 2012

Nigeria: Tributes As Bowen University Honours Onosode

Although he is largely known for his feats as a boardroom guru, Mr. Gamaliel Onosode seemingly ran into a misadventure when he strayed into the partisan field of politics. He wanted to become the nation's president. He aspired on the platform of the then All Peoples Party (APP), now All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP). It was Onosode's foretaste of partisan politics. Expectedly, he was bruised and harassed by other politicians, who were more knowledgeable that him in the political intricacy peculiar only to Nigeria.

Ever since then, Onosode had become allergic to partisan politics, as he returned from his Ekiugbo community, in Ughelli, Delta State, without any medal. But he returned with his most prized possession: character and competence --- the theme and mantra of his campaign at the time. More than 12 years after, that same character and competence have searched out Onosode, this time in far away Iwo, Osun State, where Bowen University, owned and run by the National Baptist Convention, built and named a 66-room hostel after the boardroom czar. Onosode is a devout Baptist; a reason many had wondered what he was actually looking for in the notorious murky waters of Nigerian politics. Onosode is richly respected within and outside the Baptist fold. With a taciturn and reserved visage, Onosode has carved a niche for himself that is anchored on his integrity. And that was the value celebrated on Saturday when the university named the hall after him.

The quality of persons who witnessed the ceremony also bears an eloquent testimony to the social worth of the celebrant. Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan of Delta State who was the special guest of honour at the seventh convocation of the university had commended the authorities of the Bowen University for its prudence in growing the fortunes of the institution even with very measured resources. He urged the university to maintain its standards.

The governor further commended the quality of the structures in the school, and declared that government has a lot to learn from the management of the university, especially on the prudent management of resources. He said that the honour bestowed on Onosode who is also the pro-chancellor of the university, was well deserved given his service to the fatherland, Delta State, his community and the Baptist church.

For over three decades, Onosode has dominated the corporate world, by being director, chairman or a top bracket board member of many blue chip companies in Nigeria. It is a tribute to his integrity that in all his forays in business and corporate exploits, not once has he been associated with any scam or scandal. Often wearing an ascetic mien, Onosode, a graduate of Classics from the University of Ibadan, remains one of the best speakers of the English language in Nigeria.

Uduaghan congratulated him on the hostel building named after him and urged him to keep up the good works even as he approached the octogenarian club. The governor was received by a team of Baptist clergymen, including the university's Visitor and Executive President of the Nigerian Baptist Convention, Reverend Olasupo Ayokunle; Onosode and the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Timothy Olagbemiro, amongst others.

In company with a team of university dons from affiliated Baptist University in Liverpool, United Kingdom, the team conducted a brief service at the entrance of the hostel project in dedicating the project before the Delta State Governor officially cut the tape and unveiled the plaque to inaugurate it for use.

In a brief remark, Onosode thanked the governor for his contribution to the project named after him (Onosode) and promised his best for the church and the university.

The Deacon Gamaliel Onosode Hall has 66 rooms with a common room each housing four persons. The occasion also witnessed the dedication of a modern university library at the institution run by the Nigerian Baptist Convention.

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